World number one regional aviation manufacturer ATR announced an order of three ATR 42-600S aircraft from PNG Air. The deal also means that PNG Air will be a launch customer for the STOL version.
The ATR 42-600S will be capable of taking-off from and landing on runways that are as short as 800m in length, with 40 passengers on board in standard flight conditions.
Currently operating seven ATR 72-600, the airline has captured over 40 per cent of domestic market share since introducing its ATR -600 fleet in 2015. These three new STOL aircraft will replace PNG Air’s current fleet of ageing STOL turboprops. With many current generation 30-seat STOL aircraft coming to the end of their lifecycles, airlines worldwide must replace these aircraft or the communities that they serve risk losing vital connectivity.
Commenting on the deal Paul Abbot, Chief Executive Officer of PNG Air, said, “Since incorporating the ATR 72-600 into our fleet PNG Air has gone from strength to strength, benefitting from its unrivalled efficiency, as it burns 40 per cent less fuel and emits 40% less CO2 than a similar sized regional jet. When looking at options to replace our existing STOL fleet, the ATR -600 family’s maintenance costs and commonality were hugely attractive. This commonality will lead to greater efficiency in terms of both spare parts and pilot training. We are also looking forward to introducing passengers travelling to and from our destinations with short runways to the comfort of the modern ATR -600 series cabin.”
ATR Chief Executive Officer, Stefano Bortoli, said, “The decision to replace their existing STOL fleet with our ATR 42-600S represents an intelligent acquisition and is a perfect example of why this aircraft is such an important solution for the regional aviation market. People and businesses around the world depend on the connectivity that ATR aircraft provide. Without a viable STOL replacement PNG Air’s passengers would face significant challenges to their way of life. As a successful airline PNG Air have shown that they understand the importance of these links to their passengers and the communities that they serve.”
With this new version, ATR forecasts to expand the addressable market by 25 per cent, targeting new routes and the 30-seater STOL segment. There is a strong interest from airlines for a new 50-seater product capable of operating in more constrained conditions. Close to 500 airports have a runway comprised between 800-1,000m and could welcome the ATR 42-600S. Nearly a third of these runways are in Asia Pacific.
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